Pursuant to Anchorage Municipal Code 2.10.075, the Anchorage Assembly annually adopts legislative priorities on behalf of the Municipality of Anchorage. There are three top priorities for the 2024 Legislative Session:
The Port of Alaska Modernization Program
The Municipality of Anchorage thanks the Alaska Legislature for past support towards funding the approximately $1 billion required before the end of 2025.
The State's $200 million investment, and the $270 million in grants it has helped leverage, are assisting with design and replacement of aging cargo facilities at Alaska’s largest and most strategically located port.
The Municipality's primary ask for the Port is that
legislators continue to promote and educate constituents and colleagues on the importance of this project for Alaska’s economic future.
Increasing Housing Supply and Addressing Homelessness
Across the state, communities are struggling with a major housing shortage crisis and local governments have limited powers and finances to resolve this issue without State support. The Municipality asks that the Legislature make the statewide housing shortage a priority for the 2024 session and consider these investments:
$10 million capital request in the FY25 budget for Housing Alaskans: A Public Private Partnership.
$4 million operating request in the FY25 budget to provide a 100% match for the Municipality of Anchorage to operate year-round shelter. Location Pending.
Supporting Mental & Behavioral Health Needs
The Anchorage Assembly convened behavioral health providers and statewide decision-makers in August to identify the most immediate and effective steps that can be taken to address mental and behavioral health needs in Anchorage, resulting in the following recommendations for legislators:
$650,000 to the Municipality of Anchorage to support
integrated medical and behavioral health outreach services.
- Change state labor laws to
allow behavioral health staff to work 12-hour shifts.
Emerging Priority: Energy Reliability & Affordability
Take dast action to ensure Anchorage maintains energy reliability and affordability. Alaska’s Southcentral region faces a looming energy crisis that threatens to impact not only Anchorage residents but also its economy. At the heart of this crisis is the depletion of natural gas reserves in the Cook Inlet oil and gas basin, long the primary source of energy for the area.
In the next eight years, Southcentral Alaska is expected to run out of available gas, making it imperative for state leaders and decision-makers to take immediate and strategic actions to prevent an energy crisis.
We strongly encourage the Legislature and the Governor to craft sound policy that ensures Anchorage can meet the gas and electrical needs of its citizens, businesses, and schools. These policy changes must prioritize energy reliability and affordability. Because there is no time to waste, we urge swift, bipartisan action during the 2024 legislative session.
See HB 154 and SB 125 to establish a green bank and HB 121 and SB 101 to establish a renewable energy portfolio standard for electric utilities. The Renewable Energy Fund, made permanent in 2023 via HB 62, also needs new appropriations.
While the Port of Alaska, Housing and Homelessness, Mental & Behavioral Health, and Energy Security are the Municipality’s priorities, there are also several other high priorities that are essential to making the Municipality run effectively and serve the residents that comprise half of the population of the state.
Statutory and Policy Requests
- Support full restoration of the Eklutna River
- Strengthen benefits for public employees
- Reform election regulations for voter registration
- Expand municipal tax exemptions for new development and taxing blight properties
- Fund robust snow removal and strengthen State and local coordination
- Reinstate funding for the Community Assistance Program
- Increase public school funding
- Invest in infrastructure capital projects
- Prioritize road safety corridors
- Support redevelopment of the Ship Creek Small Boat Launch